African transportation industry is generally segregated into four major modes: air, sea, land and rail. In sub-Saharan Africa, the sea appears to be the most dominant mode of transportation. This happens because of the better availability of sea routes through the large rivers and inland water bodies. The major East African countries are Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi. These countries have their respective coastline’s that connect them with each other and from them to the rest of the world.
The lack of a proper railway system in these areas reduces the possibilities of passenger transport by making the travel convenient by land routes. However, there are several challenges that African countries face when it comes to public transport. Most people rely on others modes of transport like taxis and buses. As a result, the infrastructure of these modes of public transport is not up to the mark and this leads to several problems like crowded vehicles, delayed and poor services, lack of comfort etc.
The lack of quality public transport infrastructure in most African countries poses a challenge to the travellers to make their travel convenient and safe. However, there are several solutions for this concern. For instance, the Khama locals have a unique approach of using khosa, which is an ox cart. The citizens of Khama make use of this simple and affordable vehicle for all their travels. In this way, the citizens are able to reduce their daily expenses, which otherwise would have been incurred with the use of commercial Transport in Africa.
Another option available is the aropet. This is another example of simple vehicles used for transportation. They are reliable and have the capacity to accommodate a large number of people. It is also a cheaper mode of public transportation compared to other modes of transport. It saves a lot of money as it can accommodate a large number of passengers.
One of the major issues that are faced by African road users is the increase in number of accidents, which are attributed to the inferior road conditions such as lack of lighting, potholes and cracks. To combat this, there are a number of innovative solutions adopted by the government and private organisations in Khoma district, Tanzania, including the provision of motorcycle taxis and insurance cover for the drivers. There are many reasons that have contributed to the growth of the number of accidents on the road. These include bad roads, lack of safety measures, lack of public transport, speeding vehicles, general driving distractions and accidents caused by motorcycles.
A major issue that is mainly faced by the respondents is that the roads are not well lit due to lack of road safety infrastructure. Lack of road safety infrastructure causes a lot of accidents, as it is difficult for the pedestrians to identify the vehicles coming at them. In addition, many vehicles often fail to signal or sometimes, fail to notice pedestrians. For instance, most buses do not signal when there are vehicles waiting in the middle of the road. Most of the private cars are also found to be ignoring the stop sign, thereby causing accidents due to their speed.
One of the most significant challenges that exist in Africa is the lack of public transport. Almost all the respondents reported that despite making numerous efforts to use public transport, they were unable to commute to work due to poor road conditions and the risk of meeting road accident during rush hours. Majority of the respondents did not consider using other modes of transport as reliable mode of commutation due to lack of knowledge regarding proper routes and traffic rules.
There was a marked increase in the usage of vehicles last year. This was primarily attributed to improvements in road infrastructure in many regions of the country. However, the increase in the number of vehicles resulted in increased traffic congestion, less public transport facilities and inadequate parking areas. The situation seems to have aggravated during the winter months due to heavy snow and freezing temperatures that cause severe damage to roads and infrastructure. As a result, most vehicles tend to break down even before reaching their destination. To tackle the challenges presented by public transportation, a greater investment in road network improvement projects should be made in the coming years.
I’m the founder of African Post: Toure Mamoudou
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